Pre-Application Preparation: Letters of Recommendation

02 Jun

If you are not applying to any of the schools that have started their Fall 2015 admission; (HBS, Columbia, Stern & Tuck – are the only ones that I know of, there may be others); you’re in the same boat with me. Except you may have written your GMAT which I am still preparing for but that is for another post.

Apart from preparing for GMAT, I’m also preparing for another aspect of the application: recommendations. Being the one major part of the application that is almost totally beyond my control, I know I have to start early and manage the process effectively.

I have read the prompts and questions for last year’s application as well as that of the schools available at this time, and with that, I have selected those that will provide me with recommendations, I will however wait for each school’s prompt to decide which person gets which school.

I love to be in control of things that affect me so when things like these come up, I look for ways to influence them as much as possible. Learning from my experience with Booth last year and my discussions with current students, I will be sending two documents to my referees: My resume (the same one I am submitting in my application) and a small write-up on my post MBA goals, why I chose the school and the school’s evaluation criteria. Providing this information will guide them in making a more influential recommendation that gets across the attributes I wish to get across (hopefully).

I plan to give each person six weeks to complete the recommendations, this will be flexible to allow for any arising situations. However, giving them this time frame allows me to be able to get another person if for any reason my first choice is not able to get in the recommendation. Also, I want to be done with recommendations at least three weeks before the application deadlines.

That said, my MBA goals for this month are:

  • Finalize my resume and get it reviewed by a couple of friends.
  • Put in at least 120 hours into my GMAT preparation.
  • Prepare a one page document for each school I am applying to, that highlights my post MBA goals, my reasons for choosing the school and the school’s evaluation criteria.



Posted by on June 2, 2014 in Application, Recommendation


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4 responses to “Pre-Application Preparation: Letters of Recommendation

  1. texaswannabecali

    June 3, 2014 at 6:49 am

    I love your last goal. I recently posted a month goal list myself and have”narrowing down my target schools” as one of them. I like this idea of the one page document. Every program has so much information that it’s hard to really compare them so condensing everything into one page for each will def help me alot

  2. Lucas

    June 5, 2014 at 2:14 am

    One additional thing you should consider giving to your recommenders: a summary of any key projects you did with them and your key contributions to that project, as a way of jogging their memories. You’ll be amazed at how useful that is, both for you (in terms of finding raw materials for essays) and for your recommenders (who may have to dig very deep into their memories to recall concrete examples to use in their recommendations).

    • NaijaMBAgal

      June 5, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      That’s a great advice. I’ll add it to my list. Thanks.


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